A simple, powerful book from young author, Rebecca Gregoire Lindenbach, written with a young voice and realistic perspective that lends to an easy but informative read. The book is filled with personal stories and common sense advice that any parent will appreciate.
Additionally, this book is a great book for youth pastors to read, as Lindenbach starts this book by sharing her own painful experience in her church’s youth ministry that frames some of her book’s standpoints.
What is a Rebellion?
The answer is not as straightforward as you think. One can understand what a rebel is by understanding what rebellion is not: 1.) Teenage transition is not rebellion. 2.) Personality is not rebellion. 3.) Personality clashes are not rebellion. 4.) Questioning authority is not automatically rebellion. 5.) Making a mistake is not rebellion.
Successful parenting that leads to a child that may be less likely to rebel comes down to this, “…Successful parents are not perfect, but rather they are authentic, and they expect the same thing from their children.”
Rules Versus Reason
There are two extremes and problems that accompany both. The first extreme is having no rules and having too much freedom too soon. This leads to a lack of respect and frustration from both parents and children. The other extreme is having too many rules and not having any freedom at all. This leads to children feeling controlled and may eventually lead to unhealthy rebellion. The key is finding the right balance by offering reasons, not rules. Parents need to raise children to do more than simply obey without thought. The eventual goal is to raise children that can make wise, independent choices for themselves.
There are 3 different parenting styles: 1.) Permissive, 2.) Authoritarian, 3.) Authoritative. Each parenting style is marked by its levels of control and warmth.
Children are self-fulfilling prophecy; if parents expect their children to rebel, they will rebel. Often even the rules that parents set are based on the expectations that children will try to rebel. When parents expect their child to behave in Godly ways, children will seek to live out that expectation.
There is power in expecting success and damage in expecting failure. It is the difference between fear-based parenting and faith-based parenting. Parents that lead their homes based on faith believe that God will help guide their children. Parents that respond and raise their children on the foundation of fear are believing the lie that all children will inevitably fail.
There are common themes among parents who communicate well with their children. 1.) Kids felt like they could talk to their parents about anything. 2.) There was a respect for children’s privacy. 3.) Parents were active listeners and 4.) These homes had designated communication spaces.
Homes that raised children that didn’t rebel were homes that showed their children that they were worth the time and effort by making communication a priority
A home is giving kids a place to belong. Family is the first place a child learns relationships and friendship. Kids who don’t rebel have a healthy, respectful friendship with their parents based on: 1.) Honesty, parents admitting they aren’t perfect. 2.) Building a friendship, just be hanging out and spending time together. 3.) Creating a family culture, offering children something better than rebellion.
Discipline in the home must be based on keeping the goal in mind of learning. Often children fear the consequences without learning to truly be respectful. The key to whatever discipline parents choose is to once again learn the balance of control and warmth. Parents need also to see the differences between misbehavior and being a kid. When a child is misbehaving, parents have the opportunity to grow good character and not just seek to force good behavior alone.
The ability to deal with the reality of life is something that many adults seem to lack. Parents celebrate when children are above average, but do they know how to empower their children with a realistic view of being average? The ability to be able to see oneself in realistic ways is another character of children that did not rebel. There are moments when children will struggle to succeed or even fail; it is a pathway to freedom. Reality-based parenting is based on God’s standards in a real world of sin. The focus shifts from money and success to the value of hard work and character.
It’s About God, Not the Church
Church should be centered around God, not God centered around church. Church attendance alone is not going to create rebellion-free children. While church is important, church alone is not enough for children to know, believe and live Godly. It is the combined influence of church and family that will grow children to spiritual maturity.
The Family as a Team
Family is about equipping kids to answer God’s call in their life. When a family sees themselves as a team there is a strong sense of identity and purpose. A family, like a team, equips its members to work together to accomplish the common goal. The goal of the family team is answering God’s calling in each member’s life.
Works in Progress
In the end, raising kids that will hopefully not rebel comes down to God’s power and parent’s authenticity. Instead of rules and expectations of perfection in behavior, Godly parents must seek to be authentic to who God has created them to be for their children and each other.